De historia stirpium
Anastatic reproduction of the herbarium De historia stirpium by Leonhart Fuchs (Wemding, 1501 – Tubingen, 1566)
An original specimen, printed in Basel in 1542, is carefully preserved in the Bibliotheca Antiqua at Aboca Museum.
The work, written in Latin, comprises 898 pages and 517 colour woodcuts. It includes an exhaustive introductory booklet prepared by Duilio Contin and Alessandro Menghini, which gives the biography of the author and a description of some of the technical and artistic aspects of the printing and coloration.
The anastatic copy of the herbarium also reproduces the work's imperfections and restoration work that has been carried out on the original. The folio dimensions are also faithful (23 x 35 cm), and the laid paper used is a type of COROLLA BOOK Premium White. The precious cover is made from wine-red imitation leather with seven strengthening bands in the spine, and the boards are decorated with sharply defined relief portraits of L. Fuchs and his collaborators.
The volume is presented in an elegant slipcase.
The herbarium is an extraordinary scientific document and artistic masterpiece that has always been a source of fascination to enthusiasts of medicinal botany and art historians.
The description of the 343 plants is based on new scientific criteria – nomenclature, morphology and typical place of growth – and, in particular, their "vires" (curative virtues), a classification that makes reference also to the Classical writers Galen and Hippocrates. Also included are an extensive glossary, an index in Greek, Latin and German, and a list of entries relating to spices.
The scientific value and precision of the herbarium is enhanced by the 517 superb watercolour woodcut plates that represent an important step forward in phytography. They are the fruit of the partnership between Fuchs and a number of artists whose portraits are included in the frontispiece of the work, next to that of the author. It is thanks to the painters and the engraver that De historia stirpium contains pictures of flowers and plants that had never previously been so realistically depicted. For the first time the general appearance of the plants is favoured, showing the roots, stalk, leaves, flowers and fruits to ensure correct identification of plants found in nature. The work, which was translated into several languages, was a standard botanical reference in the sixteenth century.
TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION FACSIMILE PROFESSIONAL USE
Year of publication 2003
Size cm. 23x35x7
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